Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ending our Day With Aboriginal art and Anzac cookies

While I was planning our school day today the boys ate breakfast and then Alec worked on putting together his new Lego set while Ian and Evan played with the Gears, Gears, Gears bucket.  They ran around and pretended they were Harry Potter and using Evan's old robe, glasses and wand they made up spells (that Alec wrote down in a little notebook).  It was a wonderfully child- led learning kind of morning but the boys wanted to settle down and get to work.


   
We began with decoding the sight words for Evan.  I had cut up some computer paper into small squares and wrote sight words using white crayons.  He then had to use watercolors to make the words magically appear.  I then had him spell and read the sight words to me. 


While we were working on that Alec and Ian started on math.  We had ordered some 12 sided dice from Amazon the other day and since they had finally come in I pulled out a fun worksheet called Knock It Off x 2.  Played like bump it, the boys had to take turns rolling the 12 sided die, multiply it by two and then cover the answer with one of their markers.  If the other person rolled the same number they could knock their opponents marker off the spot and take it over as their own.  Once a player had two markers on an answer it becomes theirs and no one can knock their markers off.

 It was great practice for Alec, who is still struggling to just "know" the two times facts up to 12 and I was a fun way to practice.  Once they were done they chanted for their math minute so I set them up with the timer in the other room.  They were both bummed that neither one of them answered all the facts in a minute.
 

Evan was finally ready for math as the other boys finished up so they went to play while waiting for Evan to finish his schoolwork.  Evan had another igloo sheet and today he just had to color all the odd numbers blue.  He remembered from last week that you look at the number in the one's column to see if it's odd or even but he still struggled on knowing whether multiplies of 10 were odd or even.


We read the first chapter of Odd and the Frost Giants.  So far it's very interesting.  It's about a Viking/Norwegian boy who has to go to the land of Asgard and defeat the frost giants.  We've talked about Viking ships, Vikings, where Norway is located, we read about the climate of Norway, the traditions of the people there and we've talked about/compared it all to our Disney trip to EPCOT and the Norway pavilion.  My boys have even eaten some of the food from that country when we had dinner with the Disney Princess there.  We have photos of the boys with a Viking statue and I reminded them of some of the houses and ships we saw.


We ran a quick science experiment today too:  Will ice melt faster in regular water or salt water?  We took two (of the exact same cups), filled them (with the exact same amount and temperature of water), added a 1/4 cup of salt to one cup and then put three ice cubes in each.  The boys had predicted that salt water would melt the ice faster.  As the ice started melting and it became clear that salt water melts the ice much slower they remembered that salt water lowers the melting point of the ice from various other ice and ice cream making experiments.

Salt water is on the right-- we just put the ice cubes in

Within five minutes we saw a huge difference!

We read a few facts about Polar Bears and the boys completed a writing activity today.  They wrote "If I were a Polar Bear" and drew a picture of a polar bear.  Once again, it was quite obvious that we really need to work on writing a lot more!  I was dismayed by all the spelling errors, punctuation errors, capitalization errors, and the constant "and" "and" "and" in their stories.    We'll keep plugging away at it and hope that eventually all the reading we do sinks in and they start to hear that inner voice of stories.


In furthering our Australia study, we read Koala Lou and Hunwick's Egg by Mem Fox yesterday.  We love this Australian author and have really enjoyed her books.  We watched the rest of Wonders Down Under and then watched a cute cartoon called The rescuer's Down Under too.

Today we read This is Australia and Sun Mother Wakes the World: An Australian Creation Story.  The boys loved the creation story and all the aboriginal looking illustrations so much that the older two boys asked if they could do an aboriginal painting today.  I had not planned to do that for art today but I figured why not?!
   
We sketched out a simple lizard shape (didn't they do an amazing job?!) and used paint, q- tips and the back side of the brushes to make our dots.  Alec's dots were overlapping so his lizard came out looking pretty solidly pink.  Ian left more spaces between his dots but used a brush to make a solid color background for his painting. 

My drawing-- I walked them through it step by step to draw their own
Alec's lizard
Ian's lizard
We found the idea for today's lesson here on Dilly- Dali Art.  Ian was having so much fun that he asked if he could try another painting on black paper using just his imagination and no drawing-- so that's what he did. 

All the completed paintings

I loved hearing the story behind his painting:  it's a grassman, since they don't really get much snow in most of Australia, and he is surrounded by opals (the national gem).

To finish up our already jam- packed day we decided to have another little taste of Australia.

We made Anzac Biscuits today. 

I had to search through several recipes on Pinterest before I found one that had most of the ingredients already converted for me.  Most of them are metric, of course, and I am not up on my metric system measurements.  We had to substitute a few of the ingredients for things we could find locally too but all in all I think we kept it pretty authentic and we all enjoyed them.  Here is the link to original recipe I used.
     
OUR version of the recipe:

  • We melted 1 stick of butter (or margarine) and 2 tbsp. Maple Syrup (our substitute for golden syrup) over low heat in a small saucepan.  
  • In a large bowl we mixed together 1 cup old fashioned oats, 1 cup fancy flaked, sweetened coconut, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  
  • Once the butter mixture was all melted we heated 2 Tbsp. of water to boiling and added 1 tsp. baking powder to it.  We then added the baking soda and water to the butter mixture, stirred well to combine them and then poured all the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  
  • We mixed well and then used a cookie scoop to scoop out rounded teaspoons of dough.  We fit about 15 cookies at a time on our large sheet and baked in a preheated 320 degree oven for about 12- 15 minutes (until they were a nice golden brown color).  
  • We let them cool for three minutes or so and then put them on cooling racks.  The boys couldn't wait much longer and tried the cookies warm and fresh.  They were chewy and had a nice mildly sweet flavor. 

Mixing it altogether

scooping out cookies

cooling them off so we can eat them!

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